How To Properly Measure Flour For Perfect Cakes

There's definitely a art and science to baking perfect cakes, and it requires very precise measurements. If you've ever baked a cake and had it come out too crumbly, dry, or heavy, or one that was too airy and fell apart, then you did not measure your ingredients, and in particular, flour, properly, and used either much more or less than the recipe called for. 

If you're dipping your measuring cup straight into a container of flour, and scooping up what you need before leveling it off with a knife, you're actually doing it wrong, and are using what might actually be the worst way to measure flour. That's because it's difficult to measure the right amount of flour that way. Flour has a tendency to compress or aerate, depending on how it's been handled, cautions Serious Eats. Add in differences in the forcefulness of the scoop, which could pack down the flour further, and you're looking at different amounts of flour per scoop, a variance that could lead to 30 to 50 percent more flour, warns All Recipes. Luckily, there is a better way to measure your flour.

Use a digital scale for more precise flour measurements

The more accurate way to measure flour is to use a digital kitchen scale, since the weight of the flour won't change no matter how packed or aerated your flour is. Simply factor in the weight of whatever bowl or measuring cup you are using. According to the Food Network, one cup of flour weighs 125 to 130 grams (with the 5 grams of difference listed being negligible), or 4.5 ounces.

What if you don't have a scale and that cake just has to be baked right now? You can also get more accurate flour measurements if you fluff the flour before baking, using a thin spatula or a large spoon. Fluffing the flour helps to aerate it. However, you still don't want to dip your measuring cup into the flour at this point, as you risk packing the flour down and undoing all the aerating you just did. Instead, spoon the flour into your measuring up until it overflows and then use a knife to even it out. You'll end up with more precise flour measurements this way, which is key step to baking that perfect cake.